• By Pacific island Times News Staff

Breaking News: CNMI records first two Covid-19 cases


Saipan-- The CNMI today recorded its first two confirmed cases of Covid-19. One is a 42-year-old male and the other is 49-year-old female. Both have travel history, according to the Governor's Task Force and the Commonwealth Health Center.

They have been in quarantine at Chalan Kanoa Resort, since showing symptoms on March 25, according to the task force.

CHCC has already initiated contact tracing for the most immediate contact, which includes family members, friends and church associates.

One of the two traveled to Guam on March 12 and the other traveled to Tinian on March 13 and returned to Saipan on March 14. Both began showing symptoms around March 17 and sought care at CHCC on March 25 and 26.

Their specimens, which were tested at the Guam Public Health Laboratory, were received today.

“We are monitoring their health closely while in quarantine,” the task force said.

“Since January, we have done everything to be proactive as a government and implement strict social distancing procedures to keep you, your families, our man’amko, and our loved ones with pre-existing illnesses safe,” CNMI Gov. Ralph Torres said.

“Now more than ever, we ask everyone in our community to stay at home and leave only for quick trips to the grocery store or to pick up food. We will be putting in place measures to ensure no public social gatherings at the beaches and parks. This will be enforced by our DPS officers in coordination with our COVID-19 Task Force.”

The governor urged residents to continue practicing social distancing, staying six feet apart in public areas and avoiding contact with our man’amko and our loved who have chronic illnesses. "Staying home means we can save lives of the people we love the most,” Torres said.

Torres also announced that effective Sunday, all grocery stores will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. under the conditions that social distancing is strictly implemented.

This includes posting of “one-way” flow signs for entrance and “one-way” flow signs for exit; maintaining crowd control; and ensuring there are visible customer line-up markers that are six feet apart leading to the cashier counter. Retail establishments must regularly and frequently clean all surfaces; sanitize main entrance door handles; sanitize handles of shopping baskets and shopping carts; sanitize handles for chill boxes, coolers, and freezers.

Grocery stores will also be mandated to limit their capacity within their facilities to 50% of their permitted occupancy, as set by the Department of Public Works (DPW) Building Code.

The Department of Commerce Alcohol, Beverage, and Tobacco Control (ABTC) Division, in coordination with the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and CHCC, will enforce the social distancing requirements stated above at stores and retail establishments. Failure to comply with such requirements will result in the closure of the establishment until such time that all deficiencies have been corrected.

Stay at Home, Stop the Spread

Everyone in the Marianas is encouraged to:

· Please stay home and avoid unnecessary travel as much as possible.

· Work or do school work from home whenever possible and reasonable.

· Avoid social gatherings iin groups of more than 10.

· Use drive-thru, take out or delivery options when buying food from a restaurant.

· Continue practicing good hygiene:

o Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

o Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

o Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

o Avoid touching your face.

o Disinfect frequently used items (cellphones, computers, household items) as much as possible.

If you feel sick or if someone in your home is sick, contact your personal doctor or call the Covid-19 info line at 285—1352, 1542, 1672, or 1854.

If you are an older person, you are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. Please stay home and away from other people as much as possible.

If you are a person with a preexisting illness, (such as asthma, diabetes and heart diseases), you are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

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